COVID-19 Scams: Heist of the Century



National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM) is over, but scammers continue the hustle as the IRS calls for college students and other regular non-filers to get their information logged by Nov. 21, 2020 in order to claim those unpaid economic impact payments (EIPs). The latest EIP scam making rounds comes by way of text in an attempt to snatch those EIPs right out from under unsuspecting recipients’ collective feet.  

In a warning published on Nov. 4, the IRS and the Security Summit state that a new ‘scammy’ text message claims: “You have received a direct deposit of $1,200 from COVID-19 TREAS FUND. Further action is required to accept this payment into your account. Continue here to accept this payment…” Of course, the text links to a fake phishing website address which emulates the Get My Payment website.  

CPAs should advise their clients to take a screenshot of the text message, should they receive it, and follow these steps. Identity theft is on the rise, with more than 1.7 million consumers filing fraud reports in 2019, almost half of which were identity theft reports, according to Forbes1.  

The year 2020 is shaping up to be the most egregious yet as the MICPA has been tracking various reports of scams associated with COVID-19 and other tax-related scams throughout the year. Because CPAs are entrusted with the sensitive information of their clients, the MICPA has taken steps to help its members be proactive against identity theft. Before the onset of COVID-19, we partnered with IDTheft Assist to bring members a discounted rate for the protections this identity theft insurer provides. 

There is not yet a way to be 100% protected from the threat of identity theft, but members can now take advantage of our partnership with IDTheft Assist to help mitigate any losses that might occur after a compromise. Good luck and stay sharp, tax pros!

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Source: MICPA

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